Calvin and Hope are tied for first place in the second annual College Flu Vaccination Challenge put on by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) with the help of several participating Michigan schools.
The goal of the friendly competition, which began in September 2015 and goes through March 2016, is to increase flu vaccination rates of college-aged young adults, according to MDHHS. Approximately 680 individuals were vaccinated at three flu clinics held on campus at the Hoogenboom Health Center during the months of September and October. During these clinics, students could drop in and be vaccinated in 10 minutes or less. Students who could not attend these are encouraged to make an appointment that works for them.
“Flu vaccination remains the single best way to prevent getting the flu, and MDHHS is encouraging all Michigan colleges and universities to support flu vaccination among students. It can be a bit more fun when our campuses can challenge each other to exceed in this important public health effort,” said Dr. Eden Wells, the department’s chief medical executive. “Before the flu hits your campus, assess the needs of your students and strongly recommend the flu vaccine now and throughout the entire season.”
Since college students can study harder and do better when they are well, encouraging healthful habits, such as the flu vaccination, can help keep campuses healthier and make college students’ lives easier, avoiding up to a week of missed classes due to the flu’s symptoms. College students are especially susceptible to influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, due to certain risk factors such as close contact in dormitories, classrooms and public transportation, according to MDHHS. Even healthy young adults can contract the flu. Michigan Care Improvement Registry data reveals that the flu vaccination coverage rate was lowest among 18-24 year olds during the 2014-15 flu season.
After students receive their vaccine, they are asked to take a short, self-reporting survey in order to keep track of how many students participated and to determine the winner of the competition. The survey can be taken online at a provided link or on a mobile device, using a QR code for easy access.
Students are not limited to receiving vaccines on campus; any outside sourced vaccine also counts toward the competition as long as the survey is completed. The survey is also meant to raise awareness of the flu vaccine and get students talking about it, according to MDHHS.
Included in the 17 enrolled schools are Aquinas College, Grand Valley State University and Muskegon Community College. In the lead of the medium school category is Wayne State University; Michigan State is leading the large school category. National Influenza Vaccination Week will be held in December, and the overall winners for each category will be announced in early March and will be awarded the Alana Yaksich trophy from MDHHS’s partnering organization, The Alana Foundation.
For more information regarding the College Flu Vaccination Challenge, visit the 2015-16 College Flu website at www.michigan.gov/flu or check the MDHHS Facebook page for updates.